IBJNews

Schools chief, mayors seek more funds from Senate

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The two groups most likely to benefit from changes made by Indiana House Republicans to the state budget asked Thursday that the Senate Appropriations Committee maintain new funding for roads and schools, and maybe find a little more.

Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz opened the Senate budget hearing with a call for more money for teachers, many of whom have not seen a raise in years.

"This is not enough money to compensate effective and highly effective teachers," she told the panel.

Gov. Mike Pence increased school funding $128 million in his budget, but the House added another $200 million to that figure. Lawmakers from both parties have said $300 million in education cuts made by former Gov. Mitch Daniels needed to be restored.

Ritz has faced trouble in the House, where Republicans who drove a sweeping education system overhaul two years ago floated plans to strip power from her office, amid concerns she might not enforce the changes. But her dealings with the Senate have been far easier, where Republicans have taken a wait-and-see approach with the new schools chief.

The state is also facing a transportation shortfall caused by the end of funding from the leasing of the Indiana Toll Road and a continued decline in gas-tax collections.

Pence proposed putting roughly $347 million in a transportation fund at the conclusion of the next two-year budget. But House Republicans said that money was needed sooner and proposed spending another $250 million annually on roads.

Mayors representing the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns told lawmakers of their travails trying to do basic tasks like pave roads amid a continuing budget squeeze. Joe McGuinness, mayor of Franklin, detailed his stress trying to figure out how to find $500,000 to rebuild a half-mile of road with a $300,000 city transportation budget.

"We do beg, borrow and steal from a lot of other departments," McGuinness said of his city's transportation efforts in general.

The 2013 budget battle has largely been waged between supporters of Pence's plan to cut the personal income tax by 10 percent and supporters of more funding for roads and schools. House Republicans swapped Pence's tax cut, which would cost more than $500 million annually, for an additional $200 million for schools and another $500 million for roads.

Lawmakers must approve their biennial budget before leaving the Statehouse at the end of next month. The $30 billion plan consists largely of spending on school but also includes a series of pass-throughs to the state's localities, including roads money.

The General Assembly is working with a roughly $500 million annual surplus and $2 billion in cash reserves left by former Gov. Mitch Daniels, but also struggling with pent-up demand from the many spending cuts he made to build those reserves.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

ADVERTISEMENT